You’re not alone if your child’s started releasing the harness buckle or wriggling out of the belt – most children will do it at some time.
Understandably, it has to be possible to release the belt quickly and easily in an emergency. At worst this could be with a car upside down in a ditch at night, with access at arm's length through a window, or by a person in shock and unfamiliar with the car seat. So, for these reasons:
- The catch cannot be hidden, must be obvious and accessible and mustn’t require a large force to release it.
- A different type of catch – perhaps a friend's seat – may not be undone as easily but this is usually only temporary. Given the right conditions they’ll soon get the knack.
- Don't be tempted to modify the buckle – parents have suggested reversing the buckle so it faces your child's tummy, putting a cover over the buckle or even wrapping it in tape! It’s not safe, and your child may just see it as a new challenge.
Divert their attention
Try persuading your child that there’s nothing to be gained by releasing the buckle.
- Show that the car doesn't go (or it soon stops) if the belt’s undone.
- It helps if you’re not in a hurry to get somewhere and is best started when you get a new seat or change the car.
- If your child’s old enough to really want to get somewhere, that's ideal.
- Try telling them that unless the seat belt is fastened, they won't get to the party, zoo, etc.
- A raised seat increases your child’s field of view creating more distraction from the buckle.
8 February 2017